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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

'kingyo' shoot ended, I returned to Malaysia. Chinese New Year came.


The shoot for KINGYO (my new film, some screenshots here, you can even read about its write-up on Toronto J-Film Pow-Wow, Edmund Yeo reworks Yasunari Kawabata in his latest short film "kingyo") ended on last Thursday night, amidst a heavy rain in Akihabara. As I was drenched in the rain, I was reminded of my CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY shoot nearly a year ago, when the end of a shoot was signaled by a heavy rain as well.

After 4 hectic days of shoot, I felt relieved that everything progressed so smoothly. While I've always seemed optimistic to most people, previous experiences in student productions had taught me to always expect the worst but hope for the best during shoots. When a shoot ends, I always feel relieved, and giddy with joy that I managed to survive. And then there's always a feeling of gratitude towards my cast and crew, for enduring that journey with me.

Cast and crew of 'kingyo'
The cast and crew of kingyo had seen some crazy stuff during the shoot

Maiko the Producer handled this perfectly. We huddled together, the cast and crew, with Maiko thanking our main actor Takao and main actress Rukino, and I was given two bouquet of flowers to present to them. Then Takao and Rukino spoke about how they felt regarding the shoot, and I also gave a speech (with assistant director, Lia the Artist, translating) about how I genuinely enjoyed the shoot and how I would love to work with them again. Josha the Cinematographer was then asked to lead this ritual, where he made a solemn announcement about how the kingyo shoot has officially ended, and then, all of us clapped our hands once, in unison. I've never seen anything like this before, but this ritual definitely brought a feeling of unity between us all. I would definitely 'import' this to my next productions in Malaysia.

I rushed to the airport the next morning, bringing the raw footage with me in a 1TB hard disk (while Maiko the Producer keeps another one with her in Tokyo). I would've wanted to edit the film immediately, unfortunately the digitizing was done via Final Cut Pro, and the hard disk was formatted only for Mac. I ended up not being able to edit the film because I use a laptop, and because I normally edit using the Adobe Premiere Pro (yes, all my short films, and Ming Jin's telemovie CINTA TIGA SEGI, the entire THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA, were done with Premiere Pro). Quite a hassle.

I returned to Malaysia on the 23rd (Friday night). A couple of days have passed, I've seen numerous films since then. RED CLIFF 2, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, IP MAN, BEAST STALKER etc. Perhaps I'll review them soon.

Chinese New Year arrived three days ago, and I am now in Ipoh, my mother's hometown. I even met up with Ming Jin just now, because Ipoh is his hometown too. We spoke about his feature film we are about to shoot (I'm producing), I also spoke about my surreal misadventures during the kingyo shoot, a project I've first expected to be small and simple, but ended up becoming the biggest project I've ever done, with a massive crew of such unbelievable professionalism that I thought I was doing a commercial film instead of an 'indie' film. Now that I'll be in Malaysia for quite a while, I'm eager to do another short film, something simple and small, can be finished in a day or two. Funny how I'm already thinking of another project before I even started editing this one!

Well, that's what I've been going through in the past few days.